WO1998008196A1 - Magnetic reader - Google Patents

Magnetic reader Download PDF

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Publication number
WO1998008196A1
WO1998008196A1 PCT/GB1997/002151 GB9702151W WO9808196A1 WO 1998008196 A1 WO1998008196 A1 WO 1998008196A1 GB 9702151 W GB9702151 W GB 9702151W WO 9808196 A1 WO9808196 A1 WO 9808196A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
thread
reader
length
magnetic
signals
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/GB1997/002151
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Brian Chorley
Martin John Webb
Terry Wheelwright
Original Assignee
The Governor & Company Of The Bank Of England
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to GBGB9617692.0A priority Critical patent/GB9617692D0/en
Priority to GB9617692.0 priority
Application filed by The Governor & Company Of The Bank Of England filed Critical The Governor & Company Of The Bank Of England
Publication of WO1998008196A1 publication Critical patent/WO1998008196A1/en

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K7/00Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns
    • G06K7/08Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns by means detecting the change of an electrostatic or magnetic field, e.g. by detecting change of capacitance between electrodes
    • G06K7/082Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns by means detecting the change of an electrostatic or magnetic field, e.g. by detecting change of capacitance between electrodes using inductive or magnetic sensors
    • G06K7/083Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns by means detecting the change of an electrostatic or magnetic field, e.g. by detecting change of capacitance between electrodes using inductive or magnetic sensors inductive
    • G06K7/084Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns by means detecting the change of an electrostatic or magnetic field, e.g. by detecting change of capacitance between electrodes using inductive or magnetic sensors inductive sensing magnetic material by relative movement detecting flux changes without altering its magnetised state
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07DHANDLING OF COINS OR VALUABLE PAPERS, e.g. TESTING, SORTING BY DENOMINATIONS, COUNTING, DISPENSING, CHANGING OR DEPOSITING
    • G07D7/00Testing specially adapted to determine the identity or genuineness of valuable papers or for segregating those which are unacceptable, e.g. banknotes that are alien to a currency
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07DHANDLING OF COINS OR VALUABLE PAPERS, e.g. TESTING, SORTING BY DENOMINATIONS, COUNTING, DISPENSING, CHANGING OR DEPOSITING
    • G07D7/00Testing specially adapted to determine the identity or genuineness of valuable papers or for segregating those which are unacceptable, e.g. banknotes that are alien to a currency
    • G07D7/04Testing magnetic properties of the materials thereof, e.g. by detection of magnetic imprint

Abstract

A reader for checking magnetically encoded security thread incorporated or to be incorporated into sheet material comprises a housing which includes a magnetic reading head, a rotary member which is rotatable by frictional engagement either with a surface of the thread or of sheet material containing the thread to be checked, and an encoder, coupled to the rotary member, for providing electrical signal indicating units of relative movement between the housing and the surface, in synchronism with electrical signals from the reading head. The housing may be portable for manual movement over the thread and includes circuit means including an ADC responsive to electrical signals from the magnetic reading head to decode same and provide signals indicative of the magnetic pattern detected by the magnetic reading head, for comparison with signals stored in a memory, a second memory in which a signal comparison algorithm is stored, a microprocessor operating in accordance with the comparison algorithm to compare the stored data with the digital signals from the ADC to produce an output signal indicative of the result of the comparison. A mean unit of length as computed from the second length is compared with stored data relating to the true unit length for the thread, to determine if the scanned thread has suffered stretch or is otherwise not within the specification for the thread.

Description

Title: Magnetic reader

Field of Invention

This invention relates to a reader for checking magnetically coded security threads which are incorporated within sheet material from which bank notes or other security documents are to be formed.

Background to the Invention

Security threads of this kind, as disclosed for example in European Patent EP-B-0407550 , typically comprise a succession of bit lengths, typically 2mm long. The bit lengths may represent a coded pattern by exhibiting different, respective magnetic characteristics for signal values in the coded pattern. For example, if the pattern is binary, the two binary signal values (1 and 0) may be represented respectively by a bit length of magnetic material and a bit length from which magnetic material is absent, so that in practice the thread comprises a succession of runs of magnetic material separated by spaces, the runs and spaces having lengths equal to integral numbers of bit lengths.

Various forms of reader for such magnetically coded security threads' are known, but hitherto such devices have been directed to the reading of thread in a security document such as a banknote. The device accepts bank notes, traverses the notes past a magnetic reading head and by means of various forms of signal processing circuits, decodes the magnetic pattern with great accuracy. Readers of this kind are known, for example, from EP-B-0493438.

There exists however a need for, and it is an object of the invention to provide, a reader which can be used to obtain a rapid check of the presence, continuity and magnetic code of thread incorporated in sheet material, before it is printed, and cut up to form bank notes or other documents. Such a reader can then be used in quality control of such sheet material to ensure that the quality of the printed code is to the designed standard, and that the thread has not been damaged in the foregoing production processes.

Summary of the Invention

According to one aspect of the present invention, a reader for checking magnetically encoded security thread incorporated or to be incorporated into sheet material comprises a housing which includes a magnetic reading head, a rotary member which is rotatable by engagement either with a surface of the thread or of sheet material containing the thread to be checked, or a surface adjacent thereto, and an encoder, coupled to the rotary member, for providing electrical signals indicating units of relative movement between the housing and the surface, in synchronism with electrical signals from the reading head.

The housing may be incorporated in a stationary reading device and means provided to move the thread or the thread containing sheet material relative thereto.

In a preferred form of the invention the housing is portable and is adapted for manual movement over the thread or the surface of the sheet material to effect the said relative movement .

To this end the housing may be adapted to be pushed in a forward direction, whilst maintaining slight downward pressure to maintain frictional engagement between the rotary member and the said surface. Such a reader, may in physical form generally resemble a hand-held scanner such as is used with computers. Moving such a device along a thread or over sheet material containing a security thread, can generate signals in the magnetic reading head.

However the relative movement is achieved, the reader further comprises circuit means responsive to electrical signals from the magnetic reading head to decode same and provide signals indicative of the magnetic pattern detected by the magnetic reading head.

Typically the reader further comprises data storage means and comparison means, whereby decoded signals from the decoder can be compared with signals obtained from the storage means, for generating an output signal indicative of the results of the comparison .

The magnetic reader preferably comprises a magneto-resistive transducer and a permanent magnet for magnetising magnetic segments along the length of the thread to render them readable by the magneto-resistive transducer.

The housing preferably includes an alignment device such as an index line on a transparent plate which is adapted to be disposed close to the thread, when the housing is positioned thereover for movement relative thereto, the index line serving to indicate the line of movement which the body needs to follow for the reader to follow, and to remain in alignment with the thread.

The rotary member may be a roller, or wheel, or pair of wheels, mounted on an axle for rotating a disc carried thereon which cooperates with a stationary reading head to form a shaft encoder.

The disc and wheel may be mounted on the same shaft as the rotary member or may be driven by a gear train or drive band.

A reader as aforesaid typically further comprises first signal processing circuit means responsive to signals from the shaft encoder to generate electrical signals indicative of the relative movement between the reader and the thread or the sheet material containing the thread.

Second circuit means may be provided responsive to the signals from the magnetic reading head, to allow the length of each detected magnetic segment in the thread, to be determined.

The reader may be powered by a battery which may be rechargeable.

The housing may include an LCD display mounted so as to be visible through window in the housing and third circuit means comprising an LCD driver for producing in the LCD, alphameric characters indicative of the length of a detected thread segment .

One or more LED's, with one or more LED drivers, may be provided with circuit means adapted to cause the LED's to illuminate depending on the results of a comparison of a detected thread segment length with stored data.

A preferred embodiment of reader further comprises an ADC to convert analogue signals from the reading head into digital signals, a memory in which to store a signal comparison algorithm, a further memory in which to store digital data relating to lengths and spacings of a known pattern of magnetic thread segments, means for delivering digital signals derived from relative movement between the thread and the reader head to a microprocessor operating in accordance with the said comparison algorithm to compare the stored digital data with the digital signals arising from the said relative movement and relating to the lengths of, and spacings between, the detected thread segments, to produce an output signal indicative of the result of the comparison.

The shaft encoder may be adapted to deliver pulses indicative of rotational movement of the rotary member.

Where the rotational movement is proportional to the linear movement of the device along the thread of sheet material containing the thread, the rotation can be equated to the length of the thread inspected.

According to another aspect of the invention, each short length of magnetic material making up the thread is constructed to comprise a whole number multiple of unit lengths long, and the length of each gap between two elements of magnetic material is constructed likewise to be a whole number multiple of the same said unit length.

In accordance with this second aspect of the invention, the decoding of the magnetic elements and gaps comprises allocating a number of units of length to each detected magnetic element or gap, which is a whole number equal to or greater than 1.

In one embodiment of reader adapted to utilise this second aspect of the invention, timing pulses are generated by the relative movement of the housing and the threads at a rate of N pulses per unit length along the thread and each magnetic segments is represented by a burst of M timing pulses, where M = N x L where L = the whole number of units lengths making up the segment.

In a reader as aforesaid, the microprocessor is adapted to determine from the signals available the overall length of a length of thread inspected, and to determine from the digital signals the number of unit lengths making up the scanned thread length, so as to be able to compute a mean value for the unit length of the detected thread.

In this event, the mean unit length (computed from the scanned length) may be compared with stored data relating to the true unit length for the thread, to determine if the scanned thread has suffered stretch or is otherwise not within the specification for the thread.

Typically the segments of magnetic material and the intervening gaps, describe a pattern over a distance of say 20 mm and this pattern is repeated along the length of the thread. A recognisable and unique sequence of segmental lengths and gaps is preferably provided at the leading end of each such pattern of segments and gaps, to indicate the beginning and since this will produce a unique sequence of l's and O's when read, the detector circuits can be programmed to look for and respond to this unique sequence of l's and O's when found.

Clearly such a reader could at some later stage be used to check the genuineness of a banknote (or other security document) but this is not the primary purpose of the invention.

The invention will now be described by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is a side sectional view of a hand-held thread tester according to the invention;

Figure 2 is a rear end view of the tester;

Figure 3 is a underneath view of the tester;

Figure 4 is a schematic diagram of the processing electronics for the tester;

Figure 5 is a further schematic diagram showing the overall signal processing system of a thread tester constructed in accordance with the invention;

Figure 6 is a schematic circuit diagram of a single track magneto-resistive read head showing the principle of operation; Figure 7 is a further schematic diagram illustrating the principle of operation of the circuit used for determining the length of the individual magnetic segments of thread;

Figures 8A, 8B, 8C and 8D make up the complete circuit of the signal processing apparatus illustrated schematically in the earlier figures.

Figures 1 to 3 illustrate the construction of a thread tester embodying the invention. The housing comprises an upper part 1, a lower part 2 constituting a side wall, and an apertured base plate 3. At each end the base plate has a slot over which extends a transparent index plate 4 carrying a fore-and-aft index line 4a (shown in Figure 2), by the aid of which the tester may be aligned with a magnetic thread in a sheet of material to be checked.

To the rear of the housing is mounted a transverse rotatable shaft 5 housing wheels at each end, one of which is denoted as 6. Each wheel is fitted with an elastomeric tyre 7 is a peripheral groove. The wheels protrude through apertures in the base plate 3 so that they will be rotated if the device is manually pushed over a sheet of material while slight downward pressure is maintained. The shaft 5, is mounted in two bearing plates 8, one at each side of the housing. The elastomeric material is selected so as to be compressible by firm downward pressure, so that the edges of the grooved wheels make contact with the sheet material as the device is pushed forwardly thereover.

The crushed elastomeric material increased the frictional drive between the surface and the wheels, and also tends to resist lateral movement of the device, thereby assisting in keeping a straight line course along a thread.

The shaft 5 also carries a rotary disk 11 which cooperates with a fixed sensor 10 to constitute a shaft encoder to provide in known manner, electrical pulses indicating increments of movement of the shaft, which are proportional to forward movement of the device. The scaling of the increments is chosen in accordance with the resolution or bit length of the magnetically coded thread which the device is to be used to investigate. Typically the bit length of the thread is 2mm. The device therefore needs to relate transitions in the magnetic coding of the thread to distance moved to an accuracy of a tenth of a millimetre.

Since the thread is normally formed from material which is magnetic but which does not normally retain high levels of magnetism, the thread needs to be magnetically saturated before it is to be sensed. To this end, on a partition wall within the body is mounted a permanent magnet 12, although this could be an electromagnet, if preferred.

To the rear of the magnet 12 is a magneto resistive sensor 13, which forms a thread reading head.

Other forms of magnetic reading head may be employed, but the advantage of a magnetoresistive head is that variable and low relative velocity can be tolerated between such a reading head and the thread.

Signal processing circuits, (described in more detail with reference to Figure 4), are mounted on a printed circuit board 13. The upper housing part 1 accommodates an operating switch constituted by a push button 15, a liquid-crystal display 16 and an indicator lamp 17, which operates in response to the results of the signal processing. Within the housing, between partition walls that support the magnetic reading head, is a holder 18 for a battery for powering the encoder 10 and the processing circuits.

Figure 4 illustrates schematically the electronic circuits, by which the magnetic transitions in the coded thread are related to distance moved along the thread. Several operating modes are possible. For example, since the distances between successive boundaries of magnetic segments in a code of the kind described in EP-B-0407550 denote number of bits of the same binary value, the measurement of distance moved along a track between the occurrences of magnetic transitions sensed by the read head 13 enables a reproduction of the code in the thread. The code may be compared with a code provided to and stored in the reader so that the latter may determine whether the thread in the sheet material under investigation is correct, damaged, correct but being traversed in the wrong direction, etc..

The magnetically sensitive resistive element(s) is/are preferably constructed so as to form part of a resistive bridge circuit, the varying resistance thereof controlling the current flowing in the input circuit of a signal amplifier and signal shaping circuit.

The beginning and ending of a magnetic element in a thread will produce oppositely directed pulses (positive at the one end and negative at the opposite end of a N-S polarised element in the thread). The processor is programmed to identify peaks of either polarity and to generate "element start" and "element end" signals accordingly, which in combination with the encoder pulses can be used to determine the length of the element, and the magnetic polarity N-S or S-N. The element length can be decoded to binary l's and the gaps can be decoded to binary O's, using the knowledge of the unit length used in assembly the magnetic elements and gaps which form the thread.

The peak value of each pulse can be utilised to identify the magnetic flux density attributable to the element concerned, and this can be compared with stored data indicative of the expected magnetic flux density. If too low, an "out of specification" signal can be generated to indicate that the detected thread is not up to specification. A memory 23 is provided for storing such data.

The read head 13 is coupled by way of an amplifier 20, which may include a preamplifier. Temperature compensation elements may be provided in the magneto resistive head. The processor 21 may include memory means for data storage, or a separate memory may be provided.

The shaft encoder 10 provides signals denoting increments of movement, which are counted to enable thread length to be determined.

The processed signal can be fed out through a data port 22 for example to a PC, and data (such as a thread code) may be entered via the data port for storage and use during testing

Thus the entered signals may represent the code that should be present on the thread, and accordingly the display 16 can indicate, in response to a comparison between the entered code data (which may also be stored in 23) and the data derived from the code that is read from the thread, whether there is correspondence between the two. Other data may be displayed such as the date and time (for which purpose a time/date generator may be included in the circuit of Figure 4).

The processor may also generate a sample number, beginning with 0001.

The body may include a printer (not shown) which is driven by signals from the processor and memory devices, for printing characters on the sheet containing the thread (or on a separate sheet of paper which may then be affixed to the sheet containing the thread). The printed characters may comprise the time and date and scan/sample number, and may also comprise an indication of the results of the scan.

Figures 5 onwards show in more detail the construction of a magnetic reader operable as a device for checking magnetically coded security thread such as incorporated in bank notes or other security documents. The sensing device is a magneto- resistance reading head 100 such as is described in UK Patent specification No. 2202635, signals from which are amplified by an amplifier 102. The analogue signals are converted to digital signals by an ADC circuit 104 and the digital signals are supplied to a peak detector 106 which operates using a timebase derived from the shaft encoder 10 of Figures 1 to 4.

Noise rejection is achieved by eliminating isolated low amplitude peaks using a noise rejection circuit 108, the output of which can be supplied to two mean value determining circuits. The first 110 and comprises an amplitude measuring circuit for determining the mean amplitude of each peak. This circuit is optional since the peak values are only loosely linked to the magnetic strength of the thread, and whereas a check on this parameter of the thread may be desirable, it is not appropriate as a first order check of the validity.

A more important measure is the mean distance between detected peaks (after noise has been removed by 108), and the circuit for performing this measurement is shown at 112. The mean distance between peaks is determined and saved in a memory buffer 114. Essentially the information that is stored is the position and spacing of each identified peak. This circuit 114 provides an output which can be recorded, or displayed in the form of numerical values, or used to simulate lengths of thread with appropriate spaces therebetween in a graphical display.

A further optional circuit is provided in the form of a break detector at 116. Such breaks can occur due to minor damage or where one length of thread abuts the next at a join. This device is arranged to detect small breaks in lengths of thread which otherwise would represent a whole number of unit lengths. If such a break is detected the gap is "filled-in" electrically; before the data is applied to the next circuit 118 which applies an algorithm for checking and authenticating the thread data. The authentication circuit 118 computes the length dimension of each detected thread component (after damage and join errors have been removed by circuit 116, if used) and combines this with the strength of the magnetic field associated with each detected thread component if this information is available from circuit 110.

Data relating to thread lengths (and magnetic strength if available) is supplied to display driver 120 for indicating via LCD's such as 121 whether or not an overall length of thread which has been checked has been authenticated or not, as by illuminating a green or red LED for example. The driver 120 also allows this information and other data for example for generating words and numerals to be supplied to an LCD display panel 122 for displaying either in numerical and/or graphical format information about the inspected length of thread.

A real time clock 124 provides refresh signals to the LCD and also to a programmable read only memory 126 to which information from the memory 114 is supplied. A final output is available at 128, for supplying digital data to a remote computer.

The memory 126 can be read using a docking station or other device for transferring data from the first unit to a computer memory so that for example data relating to a particular batch of thread can be accumulated and stored and conveyed with the thread to allow downstream checks to be made for quality and/or production control .

The circuit shown in Figure 5 together with a suitable power supply can be mounted within a portable device such as described with reference to Figures 1 to 4, and the docking station may provide for recharging the power supply in the hand-held device. Alternatively the relevant parts of the circuit of Figure 5 to form a reading head and signal delivery device, can be mounted in a housing located on a thread forming machine, for inspecting thread as it is manufactured. Signals from the reading head can be supplied to a second unit containing the remainder of the Figure 5 circuit together with power supplies and if necessary a master memory and a processor so that data obtained during manufacture can be transferred either by data carrier disc or tape, together with bobbins on which the lengths of thread are wound, for future use.

Figure 6 shows the equivalent circuit for a magneto-resistive head constructed along the lines of the magnetic detector described in UK Patent specification No. 2202635. Two resistive elements Rl and R2 are carried by a substrate 130 and are formed from a magneto-resistive material, i.e. one whose resistance varies depending on the strength of the magnetic field in which it is located.

A bridge circuit is formed by means of matching resistors R3 and R4 and a current i flows between junction 132 and junction 134 when the bridge is connected to a suitable source of EMF. The voltage between the opposite points of the bridge 136 and 138, is sensed by an amplifier 140.

Typically the nominal resistance of each of Rl, R2 is the same, and likewise R3 and R4 are the same, although it is not necessary for the resistance of Rl to equal the resistance of R3 (or R2 that of R4 ) .

Although Rl and R2 are both on the same substrate 130, R2 is located at right angles to the resistive element Rl so that it will not be effected by any magnetic field components which affect the resistance of Rl. However because of its close proximity to Rl, any temperature change which could affect Rl will also affect R2 in the same way, so that temperature changes alone will therefore not substantially alter the balance of the bridge.

Resistors R3 and R4 may also be on the substrate 130 but are not magneto-resistive. They are arranged so that any temperature fluctuations equally affect both R3 and R4, so as again to render the balance condition of the bridge to be independent of temperature.

Figure 7A shows segments of magnetic thread spaced apart along a line. A first segment 142 is separated from a second longer segment 144 by a gap 146. If the length of the gap is the same as the length of the segment 142 and if segment 144 is twice the length of segment 142, then the segment 142 can be said to correspond to a single logic 1, the gap to a single logic 0 and the segment 144 to a pair of logic l's. The segments can therefore be likened to a code 1011.

If a single space exists before 142 and a single space after 144 ahead of any further segments, the code represented by the end spaces as well as to the two segments can be written as 010110.

Figure 7D shows a simplified circuit of a detector for detecting the segments. This comprises a detector 146 whose electrical response changes in the presence of a magnetic field (such as exists close to a segment such as 142 or 144) so as to produce amplitude excursions in an electrical parameter such as shown by the trace 148 in Figure 7B. Differentiating amplifier 150 generates from leading and trailing edges of the amplitude excursions such as 148, edge defining pulses such as 152 shown in Figure 7C. The time at which the maximum of each edge pulse 152 occurs is determined by regularly sampling the analogue output of amplifier 158 at high speed, and generating a digital value for each sample point, and noting local peak digital values. To this end 158 output is supplied to an ADC 154 and the output of the latter is supplied to a peak value detector 156. By relating the time between peak values to a time base which is proportional to the relative movement between the detector and the length of thread containing the magnetic segments 142, 144 etc, so the length of each segment can be determined.

In the same way the gaps between segments can also be measured.

Since the divergence of the numerical value from 154 will in fact occur in opposite senses at the beginning and ending of the segments, the latter can be distinguished from the gaps in that a segment will begin with increasing values towards the peak and end with decreasing values towards a peak, whereas a gap between segments will begin with a decreasing values and end with a increasing values.

The length of any individual segment is of less importance than the overall length of a number of segments and the latter is easier to measure. Where a length of thread has a repeat pattern of segments and gaps (as will be the case in a security thread), it is possible to check whether or not a thread has become stretched or is damaged by measuring the overall length of a number of similar groups of segments and checking the overall length against a known length value.

By comparing the measured length for a known number of complete patterns of encoded segments, it is possible to determine whether a thread has become stretched or damaged. The number of patterns is determined by counting the number of start codes detected. Typically length is measured between start codes.

The complete circuit is shown in Figures 8A and 8D which is designed to operate as follows:

Detector and Head Amplifier

Six active magneto restrictive (MR) heads in series, and six dummy MR heads in series, form the emitter loads of a "long tailed pair" bridge amplifier, Q6 and Q7. The outputs of this amplifier are differentially amplified by U7:D and U7:A before being passed through a level shifter U7 : B where the bipolar signal is shifted by +2.5 volts. Diodes D8 and D9 clip the shifted signal at zero and +5 volts. A small amount of dc negative feedback is applied to the bridge amplifier via U7:C and R31. This prevents the bridge going off balance due to long term effects such as differential temperature change and component ageing. The amplifier is supplied with filtered ±12v via U6 which itself is supplied with +5 volts.

Processing Circuitry

An S87C552 microcontroller Ul, forms the heart of this section. An integrated ADC accepts and digitises the MR-Head Amplifier output, and a software programme loaded into Ul, allows the microcontroller to identify peaks in this digitised signal. The positions of the peaks are used, in conjunction with a timebase, to compute the intermittent magnetic code value and determine if the thread has become stretched.

The timebase is generated by a shaft encoder coupled to the wheel axle in the housing so that as the latter is pushed forward pulses are generated in response to the rotation of the roller, at a selected rate of ether 10 pulses per mm or 20 pulses per mm. The pulse rate is selected by J9. The pulses serve as interrupts to the microcontroller Ul, to which they are supplied via U8:A.

A clock identified as TIME 1 is a self-contained, self-powered, real time clock which is set by the microcontroller Ul via U3:A and read via U3:B.

Data relating to readings taken are stored (and retrieved) in the memory device U4. A serial data transfer protocol is used to access and read (store) this device. Data may be downloaded from or uploaded to a separate computer such as a PC. This is accomplished through a serial data- transfer interface device U2 which is controlled by the microcontroller Ul. The serial transfer mode of operation is entered by connecting an appropriate data cable between a serial port associated with J2 , and the external computer.

The remaining devices connected to the microcontroller Ul are: DOL input switches SW2 - used to select software variables; an LCD, (not shown on the diagram) connected to J8; bicolour LED's DI and D2 driven by U3 ; a buzzer, (not shown on diagram but connected to J4 ) .

Power Switching

The primary power supply for the device is a 9v battery connected to J5. Operation of switch SW1 causes Ql to turn on through a pulse developed by the differentiating network, C9/R14. This connects 9v, through the latching relay RL1, to the regulator device U5 which supplies VCC to the microcontroller Ul. Power to the MR-Head Amplifier (VCC_1) is routed via latched relay RL2 switched by Q4 controlled by Ul. After the measurement period, power is removed from the MR-read amplifier and supplied to the LED's DI and D2 (VCC_2), in order to conserve power.

At the end of an indication period, the power supply is disconnected entirely through the microcontroller unlatching relay RL1 via Q2. The collector of transistor Q5 provides an input to the microcontroller which signals either momentary or prolonged depression of the operating switch S 1.

Claims

1. A reader for checking magnetically encoded security thread incorporated or to be incorporated into sheet material comprising a housing which includes a magnetic reading head, a rotary member which is rotatable by engagement either with a surface of the thread or of sheet material containing the thread to be checked, or a surface adjacent thereto, and an encoder, coupled to the rotary member, for providing electrical signals indicating units of relative movement between the housing and the surface, in synchronism with electrical signals from the reading head.
2. A reader a claimed in claim 1, wherein the housing is incorporated in a stationary reading device and means is provided to move the thread or the thread containing sheet material relative thereto.
3. A reader as claimed in claim 1, wherein the housing is portable and is adapted for manual movement over the thread or the surface of the sheet material to effect the said relative movement .
4. A reader as claimed in any of claims 1 to 3 , further comprising circuit means responsive to electrical signals from the magnetic reading head to decode same and provide signals indicative of the magnetic pattern detected by the magnetic reading head.
5. A reader as claimed in claim 4, further comprising data storage means and comparison means, whereby decoded signals from the decoder can be compared with signals obtained from the storage means, for generating an output signal indicative of the results of the comparison.
6. A reader as claimed in any of claims 1 to 5 , wherein the magnetic reader comprises a magneto-resistive transducer and a permanent magnet for magnetising magnetic segments along the length of the thread to render them readable by the magneto- resistive transducer.
7. A reader as claimed in any of claims 3 to 6 , wherein the housing includes an alignment device such as an index line on a transparent plate which is adapted to be disposed close to the thread when the housing is positioned thereover for movement relative thereto, the index line serving to indicate the line of movement which the housing needs to follow for the reader to follow, and to remain in alignment with the thread.
8. A reader as claimed in any of claims 3 to 7, wherein the rotary member is a roller or wheel or pair of wheels, mounted on an axle for rotating a disc carried thereon which cooperates with a stationary reading head to form a shaft encoder.
9. A reader as claimed in claim 8, wherein the disc and wheel are mounted on the same shaft as the rotary member or are driven by a gear train or drive band.
10. A reader as claimed in claim 8 or 9, which further comprises first signal processing circuit means responsive to signals from the shaft encoder to generate electrical signals indicative of the relative movement between the reader and the thread or the sheet material containing the thread.
11. A reader as claimed in claim 10 comprising second circuit means responsive to the signals from the magnetic reading head, to allow the length of each detected magnetic segment in the thread, to be determined.
12. A reader as claimed in any of claims 3 to 11, further comprising a battery.
13. A reader as claimed in claim 12, where the battery is rechargeable.
14. A reader as claimed in any of claims 3 to 13, further comprising an LCD display mounted so as to be visible through a window in the housing and third circuit means comprising an LCD driver for producing in the LCD, alphameric characters indicative of the length of a detected thread segment.
15. A reader as claimed in any of claims 3 to 14, which includes one or more LED's, and one or more LED drivers, and further circuit means adapted to cause the LED's to illuminate depending on the results of a comparison of a detected thread segment length with stored data.
16. A reader as claimed in any of claims 3 to 15, further comprising an ADC to convert analogue signals from the reading head into digital signals, a memory in which to store a signal comparison algorithm, a further memory in which to store digital data relating to lengths and spacings of a known pattern of magnetic thread segments, means for delivering digital signals derived from relative movement between the thread and the reader, to a microprocessor operating in accordance with the said comparison algorithm to compare the stored digital data with the digital signals arising from the said relative movement and relating to the lengths of, and spacings between, the detected thread segments, to produce an output signal indicative of the result of the comparison.
17. A reader as claimed in any of claims 3 to 16, wherein the shaft encoder is adapted to deliver pulses indicative of rotational movement of the rotary member.
18. A reader as claimed in claim 17, wherein the rotational movement is proportional to the linear movement of the device along the thread or sheet material containing the thread, the rotation can be equated to the length of thread inspected.
19. A reader as claimed in claim 17 or 18, wherein each short length of magnetic material making up the thread is constructed to comprise a whole number multiple of unit lengths long, and the length of each gap between two elements of magnetic material is constructed likewise to be a whole number multiple of the same said unit length.
20. A reader as claimed in claim 19, wherein the decoding of the magnetic elements and gaps comprises allocating a number of units of length to each detected magnetic element or gap, which is a whole number equal to or greater than 1.
21. A reader as claimed in claim 20, wherein timing pulses are generated by the relative movement at a rate of N pulses per unit length along the thread and each magnetic segment is represented by a burst of M timing pulses, where M = N x L and where L = the number of unit lengths making up the segment.
22. A reader as claimed in claim 19, 20 or 21, wherein the microprocessor is adapted to determine from the signals available the overall length of a length of thread inspected, and to determine from the digital signals the number of unit lengths making up the scanned thread length so as to be able to compute a mean value for the unit length of the detected thread.
23. A reader as claimed in claim 22, wherein the mean unit of length as computed from the scanned length is compared with stored data relating to the true unit length for the thread, to determine if the scanned thread has suffered stretch or is otherwise not within the specification for the thread.
24. A method of checking a magnetically encoded security thread before or after incorporation into sheet material such as paper, comprising the steps of positioning a magnetic reading head adjacent the thread and effecting relative movement between the thread and the head to generate electrical signals therein as the magnetic regions of the thread move into and out of the reading head field of influence, decoding the electrical signals and comparing the decoded signals with stored data and generating and information signal indicative of the comparison.
25. A method of checking a security thread before or after it is embedded in sheet material such as paper comprising the steps of effecting relative movement between the thread and a reading device as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 23, and noting the result of the measurement of the magnetically coded regions of the thread detected by the reader.
26. A method of checking a security document such as a bank note having embedded therein a security thread containing a sequence of magnetisable regions therealong, comprising the steps of effective relative movement between the security document and a reader as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 23, so that the reader is moved (or the thread moves relative to the reader) in such a way that the thread is traversed (or traverses the reader) along its length dimension.
AMENDED CLAIMS
[received by the International Bureau on 4 February 1998 (04.02.98); original claims 24-26 replaced by new claims 24-27; remaining claims unchanged (2 pages)]
19. A reader as claimed in claim 17 or 18, wherein each short length of magnetic material making up the thread is constructed to comprise a whole number multiple of unit lengths long, and the length of each gap between two elements of magnetic material is constructed likewise to be a whole number multiple of the same said unit length.
20. A reader as claimed in claim 19, wherein the decoding of the magnetic elements and gaps comprises allocating a number of units of length to each detected magnetic element or gap, which is a whole number equal to or greater than 1.
21. A reader as claimed in claim 20, wherein timing pulses are generated by the relative movement at a rate of N pulses per unit length along the thread and each magnetic segment is represented by a burst of M timing pulses, where M = N x L and where L = the number of unit lengths making up the segment.
22. A reader as claimed in claim 19, 20 or 21, wherein the microprocessor is adapted to determine from the signals available the overall length of a length of thread inspected, and to determine from the digital signals the number of unit lengths making up the scanned thread length so as to be able to compute a mean value for the unit length of the detected thread.
23. A reader as claimed in claim 22, wherein the mean unit of length as computed from the scanned length is compared with stored data relating to the true unit length for the thread, to determine if the scanned thread has suffered stretch or is otherwise not within the specification for the thread.
24. A method of checking a magnetically encoded security thread before or after incorporation into sheet material such as paper, comprising the steps of positioning a magnetic reading head adjacent the thread and effecting relative longitudinal movement between the thread and the head to generate electrical signals therein as the magnetic regions of the thread move into and out of the reading head field of influence, decoding the electrical signals and comparing the decoded signals with stored data and generating an information signal indicative of the comparison.
25. A method as claimed in claim 24, further comprising the steps of measuring said relative longitudinal movement, and generating a second electrical signal in synchronism with the electrical signals from the reading head, indicating the said movement .
26. A method of checking a security thread before or after it is embedded in sheet material such as paper comprising the steps of effecting relative movement between the thread and a reading device as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 23, and noting the result of the measurement of the magnetically coded regions of the thread detected by the reader.
27. A method of checking a security document such as a bank note having embedded therein a security thread containing a sequence of magnetisable regions therealong, comprising the steps of effective relative movement between the security document and a reader as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 23, so that the reader is moved (or the thread moves relative to the reader) in such a way that the thread is traversed (or traverses the reader) along its length dimension.
M DEO SHEET (ARTICLE 19)
PCT/GB1997/002151 1996-08-23 1997-08-08 Magnetic reader WO1998008196A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GBGB9617692.0A GB9617692D0 (en) 1996-08-23 1996-08-23 Magnetic reader
GB9617692.0 1996-08-23

Applications Claiming Priority (4)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
DE1997636294 DE69736294D1 (en) 1996-08-23 1997-08-08 Magnetic reading device
AU38580/97A AU3858097A (en) 1996-08-23 1997-08-08 Magnetic reader
DE69736294T DE69736294T2 (en) 1996-08-23 1997-08-08 Magnetic reading device
EP97935684A EP0925559B1 (en) 1996-08-23 1997-08-08 Magnetic reader

Publications (1)

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WO1998008196A1 true WO1998008196A1 (en) 1998-02-26

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EP (1) EP0925559B1 (en)
AT (1) AT332546T (en)
AU (1) AU3858097A (en)
DE (2) DE69736294D1 (en)
GB (2) GB9617692D0 (en)
WO (1) WO1998008196A1 (en)

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WO2000013128A1 (en) * 1998-08-28 2000-03-09 The Governor And Company Of The Bank Of England Improvements in and relating to sheet material inspection apparatus and methods
GB0112783D0 (en) * 2001-05-25 2001-07-18 Rue De Int Ltd Magnetic field sensor and method
AT412513B (en) * 2002-02-01 2005-03-25 Hueck Folien Gmbh Quality control system for printed and/or embossed sheet material, includes on-line measurement device for magnetic properties

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EP0413534A1 (en) * 1989-08-16 1991-02-20 De La Rue Systems Limited Thread detector assembly
EP0512925A1 (en) * 1991-05-10 1992-11-11 Banque De France Method for coding a security thread, especially for security paper
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Also Published As

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EP0925559B1 (en) 2006-07-05
GB9617692D0 (en) 1996-10-02
DE69736294T2 (en) 2006-11-09
AU3858097A (en) 1998-03-06
EP0925559A1 (en) 1999-06-30
GB2316521A8 (en) 1998-08-10
GB9716713D0 (en) 1997-10-15
GB2316521B (en) 2000-08-09
DE69736294D1 (en) 2006-08-17
AT332546T (en) 2006-07-15
GB2316521A (en) 1998-02-25

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